Tuesday May 22 2012

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TUESDAY, MAY 22, 2012

SANDUSKY SCANDAL

AS OF RIGHT NOW, THE JERRY SANDUSKY TRIAL WILL BEGIN WITH JURY SELECTION ON JUNE 5TH. JUDGE JOHN CLELAND YESTERDAY DENIED JOE AMENDOLA’S MOTION FOR A DELAY AND ORDERED THE DEFENSE TO TURN OVER MATERIALS REQUESTED BY THE ATTORNEY GENERAL’S OFICE REGARDING ANY EXPERT WITNESS WHO MAY TESTIFY. THAT RULING CAME THE SAME DAY THAT CENTRE COUNTY JUDGE PAMELA RUEST ORDERED THE PROBATION AND PAROLE DEPARTMENT TO HAND OVER CERTAIN DOCUMENTS PERTAINING TO VICTIM 10. ANOTHER PRE-TRIAL CONFERENCE IS SCHEDULED NEXT WEDNESDAY. THE JUDGE HAS NOT YET DECIDED IF JUROR QUESTIONNAIRES CAN BE USED TO HELP BOTH SIDES PICK A JURY.

BELLEFONTE BORO POLICE CHIEF SHAWN WEAVER YESTERDAY BRIEFED BORO COUNCIL ON PREPARATIONS FOR THE SANDUSKY TRIAL. TONS OF NATIONAL MEDIA IS EXPECTED AND WEAVER SAYS HIS GOAL IS TO MAKE THIS A SAFE EVENT FOR EVERYONE INVOLVED, TO HAVE MINIMAL DISRUPTION TO THE DAILY LIVES OF BORO RESIDENTS AND THE PEOPLE WHO TRAVEL THROUGH TOWN TO GET TO WORK. DOWNTOWN STREETS AROUND THE COURTHOUSE WILL REMAIN OPEN, BUT THERE MAY BE SOME DETOURS. THE TRIAL IS EXPECTED TO LAST SEVERAL WEEKS.

SPANIER WAS WELL PAID

THE CHRONICLE OF HIGHER EDUCATION SAYS FORMER PENN STATE PRESIDENT GRAHAM SPANIER WAS THE 3RD HIGHEST PAID LEADER OF PUBLIC INSTITUTIONS IN THE COUNTRY.  HE WAS PAID JUST OVER 1-POINT-1 MILLION DOLLARS IN 2011 BEFORE HIS CONTRACT WAS TERMINATED IN LIGHT OF THE JERRY SANDUSKY SCANDAL. THE FORMER CHANCELLOR OF TEXAS A&M UNIVERSITY EARNED 1-POINT-97 MILLION AND THE LEADER OF OHIO STATE TOOK HOME 1-POINT-99 MILLION.

CRASH VICTIM IDENTIFIED

WTAJ REPORTS THAT 24 YEAR OLD CHASTITY NOVAK IS THE PERSON WHO DIED IN A CRASH EARLY SUNDAY MORNING IN ANTIS TOWNSHIP, BLAIR COUNTY. NOVAK WAS NORTHBOUND ON ROUTE 10-01 IN A CONSTRUCTION ZONE WHEN SHE HIT THE SIGNS BARRICADING THE ROAD. THE VEHICLE THEN STRUCK A 100 TON CRANE AND CAUGHT FIRE, TRAPPING NOVAK INSIDE. BACK IN 2009, NOVAK PLOWED INTO A STOPPED MOTORCYCLE, KILLING THE BIKER LARRY KOELLE OF HOLLIDAYSBURG. SHE RECEIVED 6 MONTHS OF HOUSE ARREST AND PROBATION. THAT WRECK HAPPENED JUST YARDS AWAY FROM WHERE NOVAK DIED.

FORMER POLICE OFFICERS WILL GET LOCAL JURY

THE ALTOONA MIRROR REPORTS THAT FORMER ALTOONA POLICE OFFICERS DUANE EICHENLAUB AND ERIC KRINER WILL BE TRIED BY A BLAIR COUNTY JURY.
JUDGE TIM SULLIVAN REFUSED A DEFENSE REQUEST YESTERDAY TO EITHER MOVE THE TRIAL OR BRING IN AN OUT-OF-COUNTY JURY, SAYING HE WILL FIRST TRY TO EMPANEL AN IMPARTIAL LOCAL JURY. EICHENLAUB AND KRINER ARE CHARGED WITH AGGRAVATED ASSAULT FOR ALLEGEDLY BEATING HERMAN “BO” LARDIERI AND EARL ESHELMAN AT PELLEGRINE’S BAR IN MAY 2010…THEN TRYING TO COVER IT UP. THE CASE COULD GO TO TRIAL IN THE FALL.

OVER 1-MILLION DOLLARS WORTH OF HEROIN

A HUGE DRUG BUST YESTERDAY IN BLAIR COUNTY. 27 YEAR OLD AMANDA O’KELLEY AND 44 YEAR OLD DERRICK SAMUELS OF PITTSBURGH WERE PULLED OVER ALONG I-99 IN ANTIS TOWNSHIP AND A POLICE DOG FOUND 2-THOUSAND BRICKS OF HEROIN IN THEIR CAR. THE DRUGS HAVE A STREET VALUE OF 1 TO 1-POINT-5 MILLION DOLLARS. A 6-MONTH-OLD GIRL IN THE CAR WAS PLACED IN THE CUSTODY OF BLAIR COUNTY CHILDREN AND YOUTH SERVICES.

CROSS BURNING TRIAL POSTPONED

20 YEAR OLD RYAN HELD OF PHILIPSBURG WAS SCHEDULED TO GO ON TRIAL IN JOHNSTOWN’S FEDERAL COURT YESTERDAY, BUT IT’S BEEN DELAYED UNTIL JULY 23RD. HELD WAS INDICTED BY A GRAND JURY FOR BURNING A CROSS IN FRONT OF A WOMAN’S WOODLAND HOME. HE WAS REPORTEDLY TRYING TO INTIMIDATE A BLACK MAN WHO WAS STAYING WITH THE WOMAN IN AUGUST 2010.

SCHOOL BUDGET TIME

LAST NIGHT, THE STATE COLLEGE AREA SCHOOL BOARD UNANIMOUSLY ADOPTED A 116-POINT-6 MILLION DOLLAR BUDGET FOR THE COMING SCHOOL YEAR. PROPERTY TAXES WILL INCREASE 2-POINT-4 PERCENT UNLESS THERE ARE ANY MAJOR SURPRISES IN THE STATE BUDGET.

THE SOUTHERN HUNTINGDON SCHOOL DISTRICT VOTED LAST NIGHT TO CLOSE THE TROUGH CREEK ELEMENTARY SCHOOL IN CASSVILLE. OFFICIALS ALSO ADOPTED A PRELIMINARY SPENDING PLAN.

THE HUNTINGDON SCHOOL BOARD UNANIMOUSLY GAVE PRELIMINARY APPROVAL TO A 25-POINT-8 MILLION DOLLAR BUDGET FOR THE COMING SCHOOL YEAR. IT INCLUDES A TAX INCREASE OF 1-POINT-7 MILLS. THE STATE’S CONTRIBUTION IS STILL UNKNOWN, PENDING APPROVAL OF A NEW SPENDING PLAN.

THE LATEST ATTEMPT TO ABOLISH SCHOOL PROPERTY TAXES IS BEING DEBATED IN FRONT OF THE HOUSE FINANCE COMMITTEE. THE PROPERTY TAX INDEPENDENCE ACT WOULD FUND EDUCATION THROUGH A ONE-PERCENTAGE POINT INCREASE IN SALES TAX, BROADENING THE SALES TAX BASE, AND HIKING THE PERSONAL INCOME TAX FROM 3-POINT-0-7 TO 4-PERCENT. THOSE WHO ARE CRITICAL OF THE BILL SAY IT WOULD BENEFIT BIG BUSINESSES AND COMMERCIAL PROPERTY OWNERS.

CLICK IT OR TICKET

MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND AND SUMMER VACATIONS ARE COMING UP…AND PENNDOT IS PARTNERING WITH STATE AND LOCAL POLICE FOR THE NATIONAL “CLICK IT OR TICKET” SEAT-BELT ENFORCEMENT EFFORT THROUGH JUNE 10TH. PENNDOT SECRETARY BARRY SCHOCH SAYS BUCKLING UP CAN INCREASE YOUR CHANCE OF SURVIVING A CRASH BY UP TO 60 PERCENT. ACCORDING TO PENNDOT DATA, 509 PEOPLE DIED LAST YEAR IN UNBELTED CRASHES, A DECREASE FROM 524 SUCH FATALITIES IN 2010. HOWEVER, THE TOTAL NUMBER OF CRASHES IN WHICH PEOPLE WERE NOT WEARING SEAT BELTS ROSE LAST YEAR TO 16-THOUSAND-298, COMPARED TO 15-THOUSAND-442 IN 2010.

TRAIN RIDES CANCELED

OFFICIALS WITH THE EAST BROADTOP RAILROAD IN ORBISONIA, HUNTINGDON COUNTY, ANNOUNCED YESTERDAY THAT THE POPULAR TOURIST TRAINS WILL NOT BE RUNNING THIS SUMMER BECAUSE THERE IS NO FUNDING AVAILABLE FOR NEEDED MAINTENANCE AND REPAIR WORK. THE EAST BROADTOP PRESERVATION ASSOCIATION IS STILL TRYING TO COME UP WITH THE 3 MILLION DOLLARS NEEDED TO PURCHASE THE RAILROAD FROM ITS CURRENT OWNERS. IF THAT HAPPENS BY THE END OF THE YEAR, THE RAILROAD COULD REOPEN NEXT YEAR.